Esteban Ocon says he expects Alpine may have a “tricky” start to the new season with their heavily revised new A524.
Alpine became the latest team to launch their 2024 car today at their Enstone factory.
The team fell from fourth in the championship in 2022 to sixth last season, prompting a team owners Renault to make significant changes to the team’s leadership ahead of the summer break.
Ocon says the team’s new car for 2024 is a major departure from last season, but admits it could take time for Alpine to get the most out of.
“We have to be humble,” Ocon told media including RaceFans today.
“Obviously, it’s a very aggressive concept that we are going into. Taking a new car and changing completely the approach because we thought we were maximising the old concept. But this year it’s about understanding early on where we are exactly, who’s where, who have improved more.
“It doesn’t really matter where we start, and there is a scenario where it could be tricky where we start, but the importance is going to be what we are in place. To bring the updates, understand the car and get it to where it should be, because that should be a better concept, definitely, with what we have what we decided to take. So I can’t wait to be on track, understand and hopefully get a good feeling driving it, being happy with the balance and have that smile that I had with many cars in Enstone.”
Changing the car’s fundamental concept for 2024 means that gathering early data on the car will be critical for them to be able to make the best of it.
“If we decided to take that concept, it means there’s more potential than the other one,” he explained. “Early on in Bahrain it’s going to be crucial to get the right feedback straight away to the team, analyse and get ready for the first couple of races. We need to see a bit more long-term here more than straightaway short term because it’s like a brand new car.”
Ocon insists that the team are encouraged by how the car has performed in simulator testing, but he wants to translate that into real life performance.
“I look forward to seeing exactly how that car feels,” he said.
“We’ve been testing it in the simulator, we trust our numbers, but you want to validate that going on the track. So testing that, feeling that, is going to be a big thing for us.”
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